It’s Family Weekend

Going to family weekend when my children were in college was something I looked forward to. It provided a chance to, above all, spend time with my son or daughter, but also to meet friends, faculty members, administrators, go out to nice dinners, even admire the fall foliage.

And so I look forward to welcoming parents and other family members this weekend here at Career Services. Some want to meet their student’s advisor, about whom they have heard. Most want information: what is in store for their child (and his or her classmates) after graduation?

That is an easy question to answer: as a group, Penn students do extremely well. Why is that? The short answer is Penn students are a gifted bunch. They are ambitious, energetic, and organized. The majority have made their post- graduation plans well before graduation. They receive job offers from leading employers across multiple industries, and gain admission to top graduate and professional schools. They serve in the military, and in other sectors where they can make a difference in the lives of others. They do fellowships here and abroad. They engage in entrepreneurial ventures. We are proud of them all.

A very high percentage of new graduates with a clear plan used Career Services. Of our class of 2015, 75% are working full-time, over 13% are in graduate or professional school full time, 5% have other plans and only 6.9% as of this week are seeking employment. (Actually, the percentage is probably lower, in that some have not updated us on their plans since early summer, and others are employed according to their LinkedIn profiles.) In any case 6.9% is a low percentage, but it does represent some new graduates who are still engaged in the job hunting process. There are many reasons why they have not yet wrapped up their searches:

  • They got a late start, not beginning to apply until after graduation or for some, after a summer of travel. 
  • They have visa issues that make it more difficult to find employment. 
  • They have been unable to search for a job due to personal or family illness.
  • They have been very selective about the sort of job they will accept.

Whatever the case, Career Services continues to work with these recent graduates to support them as they seek employment, and to support the others who are engaged in the graduate school application process. And this support does not end this year or at any particular point. We engage with young alumni for several years after they graduate as their careers unfold. And our periodic alumni surveys show that our graduates continue to do well. Only 2% of alumni five years out are seeking employment, and only 1% of those ten years out of Penn. Those are truly spectacular percentages.

These statistics provide the ballast for our confidence that a Penn degree will prepare current undergraduates with the skills they need for success at graduation, and as their careers develop. We look forward to sharing this encouraging news with current parents this weekend and in the weeks and months ahead. From all of us at Career Services, have a great Family Weekend!

Author: Patricia Rose

Patricia Rose is the Director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania.